5 Guidelines for Getting Effective Advertising

by James on May 2, 2011

You know the old line about wasting half your advertising budget? Well it doesn’t need to be this way. Use the following five guidelines when working with your ad agency or creative resource and you will get more effective advertising:

1. Don’t forget the strategy. Assess the creative on its ability to deliver the strategy to the target audience. Not on whether it speaks to you or your boss.

You probably have a graduate degree. This puts you in 9.4% of adults 25+. If you have a college degree you are among 27% of adults 25+. You make a lot of money and you think about marketing and advertising all day. You are not a normal American adult. Sorry, but it’s true.

2. Keep your comments focused on facts. Is the information in the ad accurate? If it is then leave it alone. Professional copywriters and art directors spend their careers considering how best to communicate ideas. You spend your time with spreadsheets.

3. Don’t be afraid of personality. A little goes a long way toward differentiating your brand, product or service from the competition. Politically correct brand speak sounds like it was written by MBAs and generally doesn’t have a lot of personality. It won’t speak to the target audience and to be effective, advertising must speak to the target. Do you really think the George Foreman Grill is that much better than all the others?

4. Don’t be afraid of design. Design conveys emotion and personality. Good design makes it easier for consumers to understand that the message is for them and what the message is. Great design sets your message and by implication your brand, product or service apart. Look at Apple’s advertising to see what I mean.

5. Defend the work. Your boss, your boss’s boss, and all the bosses up the food chain will want to bring their extensive experience with higher education and spreadsheets to bear on the advertising. Don’t let them. Show them points 1 through 4. You will get better work, more effective advertising that will generate more business for your company, which will make you a hero. It will also make you a hero to the creative taem, which will continue the cycle of great work.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

leon Noone May 2, 2011 at 1:34 pm

G’Day James,
Excellent advice. I’ve worked in and around HR for nearly 40 years. It too, like advertising and marketing is something that everyone’s an expert in.

i have a peripheral interest in business names and slogans, or “branding” as web marketers like to call it.

It’s always interesting to get clients to accept that what matters is what their prospects and clients think not what they think.

I’ve found it useful to remind them about Ken Burns. One of his most important criteria for a new project is that he has no expert knowledge of the subject.

Incidentally, I noticed a recent reader poll from “Advertising Age.” They rated “Positioning” the 1981 book by Al Ries and Jack Trout, as “The Best Marketing Book Ever.”

The more things change and all that.

Best Wishes


James May 2, 2011 at 7:35 pm

Thanks Leon. Glad you liked the article. James

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